“You have to look back on those really hard times and try to get the lessons out of them”
Plant Powered. Bionic Man. Shark Attack Survivor. Animal Lover. ex-Navy Clearance Diver. Shark Conservationist. Motivational Speaker. Author. Humble Human.
It’s really hard to imagine your worst nightmare ever coming true. Most of us in life are absolutely fearful of something. There are most likely two things which 99% of the world’s population are collectively afraid of…..public speaking and sharks!!
As our guest this week says, “Your greatest fears can actually become your greatest strengths.”
Paul De Gelder, is a man whose two greatest fears of sharks and public speaking, have been something which he has had to face head-on, due to one particular encounter which altered the trajectory of his life.
Paul came from humble beginnings and was born as the first child of 4 in Mornington Peninsula, Melbourne, Australia. His Policeman Dad, was away from home a lot which left his Mom to bring up himself and his younger siblings. As the eldest, he had less support and developed a fractious and rebellious streak, which got him kicked out of home at seventeen.
After a few wasteful and wayward years of working in strip bars and an unfortunately unsuccessful hip hop career, he joined the Army. After receiving his maroon beret, it was the first time that he felt he really had something tangible to be proud of in his life.
Paul really started to find his groove when he was recruited into the Australian Navy Clearance Divers. It was however, during a terrorist training activity in the Sydney Harbour, that would alter the path of his life forever. Paul was attacked by a bull shark. The shark bit off his hand, tore off his hamstring muscle and his sciatic nerve.
What he endured the following days in hospital, were a culmination of the worst pain he had ever experienced in his life, the thought of wanting to end his life right there and making the decision to have his lame leg amputated, as it would serve no purpose in his life going forward!
This man is an incredible human and has the mindset most of us can only dream of having. His recovery story is heroic and probably what you would see in a Hollywood film, he has never suffered from PTSD, had flashbacks or undergone any counselling.
It’s a truly remarkable story, which makes you assess your own life and consider how you can focus on the positive and be thankful for everything you have.
We cover a lot in this conversation: Being grateful for what you have, learning from 3rd world experiences, the struggle of a rebellious childhood, military life, hip hop and opening for Snoop Dogg, mindset, his fear of sharks and public speaking and how to learn things again which we all take for granted, like getting into the bath…
We hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did.
Let’s find out what it means for Paul De Gelder to be Ridiculously Human.
Your fellow beings,
Craig and Gareth
Background, Context & Reference
Connect with Paul De Gelder:
Paul’s books and shows:
Paul’s book: No Time For Fear
Shark Week – Discovery Channel
Other relevant points discussed and mentioned:
Footage of Paul’s Shark Attack
Australian Navy Clearance Divers
Los Angeles, California
San Diego, California
Sydney Harbour, Australia
The Bambuseae Rhythm Section – Check them out here
Simon Van Gend Band – Check them out here
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